MANILA (AP) — Sara Duterte, the daughter of the outgoing populist president of the Philippines, took her oath Sunday as vice president following a landslide electoral victory she clinched despite her father’s human rights record that saw thousands of drug suspects gunned down.

The inauguration in their southern hometown of Davao, where she’s the outgoing mayor, comes two weeks before she assumes office on June 30 as specified in the Philippine Constitution. President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Duterte’s running mate, will take his oath in Manila on June 30.

“I’m not the best or the most intelligent person in the Philippines and the world but nobody can beat the toughness of my heart as a Filipino,” Duterte, who wore a green traditional gown, said in a speech after she took her oath before a Supreme Court associate justice, her hand resting on a Bible held by her mother.

“The voice of 32.2 million Filipinos was loud and clear — with the message to serve our motherland,” Duterte said, referring to the votes she got, to an applause from thousands of supporters.

Fondly called by supporters as “Inday Sara,” the mother of three called for national unity and devotion to God and asked Filipinos to emulate the patriotism of the country’s national hero Jose Rizal. She cited longstanding social ills facing Filipino children, including poverty, broken families, illegal drugs, bullying and online misinformation and asked parents to ingrain in them the values of integrity, discipline, respect for others and compassion.

President Rodrigo Duterte, 77, led the VIPs in the heavily guarded ceremony at a public square near city hall in the port city of Davao, where he had also served as a mayor starting in the late 1980s. His family, hailing from a modest middle-class background, built a formidable political dynasty in the restive southern region long troubled by communist and Muslim insurgencies and violent political rivalries.

Duterte’s presidency has been marked by a brutal anti-drugs campaign that has left thousands of mostly petty suspects shot dead by police or vigilantes. The drug killings are being investigated by the International Criminal Court as a possible crime against humanity.

The electoral triumphs of Sara Duterte and Marcos Jr. have alarmed left-wing and human rights groups because of their failure to acknowledge the massive human rights atrocities that took place under their fathers, including late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte campaigned on a vague platform of national unity without clearly addressing activists’ calls for them to take steps to prosecute the elder Duterte when he retires from politics.

One of the president’s sons, Sebastian Duterte, will succeed his sister as Davao mayor, and another son, Paolo Duterte, won a seat in the House of Representatives in the May 9 elections. The outgoing president’s late father was a former Davao governor.

Philippine elections have long been dominated by politicians belonging to the same bloodlines. At least 250 political families have monopolized power across the country, although such dynasties are prohibited under the constitution. Congress — long controlled by members of powerful clans targeted by the constitutional ban — has failed to pass the law needed to define and enforce the provision.

While Sara Duterte, 44, refused calls by her father and supporters to seek the presidency, she has not ruled out a future run. She topped pre-elections surveys for the president last year and won with a huge margin like Marcos Jr.

Aside from the vice president, she has agreed to serve as education secretary, although there were talks that her initial preference was to head the Department of National Defense, a traditional springboard to the presidency.

Still, the education portfolio would provide her first national political platform, especially with plans to resume physical classes soon after the country was hit hard by two years of coronavirus pandemic outbreaks and lockdowns.

She thanked her Davao supporters on Saturday and said she decided to hold her inauguration in one of the country’s most developed cities to show her pride as a southern provincial politician who rose to a top national post.

Duterte finished a medical course and originally wanted to become a doctor but later took up law and was prevailed upon to enter politics starting in 2007, when she was elected as Davao vice mayor and mayor three years later.

In 2011, she drew national attention when she was caught on video punching and assaulting a court sheriff who was helping lead a police demolition of a shanty community despite her plea for a brief deferment. The court official sustained a black eye and face injuries and was taken by her bodyguards to a hospital.

Despite her public feuds with her father, Sara Duterte had her hair shaved a year before the 2016 elections as a show of support for his candidacy.

He won the single six-year mandate by a huge margin on an audacious but failed promise to eradicate illegal drugs and corruption in three to six months and constant public threats to kill drug dealers.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)

By tladmin

You missed

Once known as a “financial wizard”, Indian-born Rakesh Saxena now faces decades in jail for a Thai banking scandal that triggered the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Following a legal battle that dragged on for 26 years, the Supreme Court on September 12 finally sentenced Saxena to 335 years in jail over three lawsuits stemming from the Bangkok Bank of Commerce (BBC) embezzlement scandal. Although the jail sentence of over three centuries was upheld, the 70-year-old will serve only 20 years behind bars, the maximum term under the Thai Penal Code. Working his way up the ladder From 1974 to 1985, Saxena worked as a foreign exchange dealer and money market broker in India, Singapore, Hong Kong, and London. He later moved to Thailand to work as a newspaper financial columnist and consultant to financial institutions. In 1989, while living in Bangkok, he met and befriended Krirkkiat Jalichandra, who had just been appointed as the BBC’s senior vice-president. In 1992, Saxena became a personal advisor to Krirkkiat, who had since been promoted to BBC president. The bank at that time was owned by the family of Krirkkiat’s mother. In his book “BBC Truth”, Krirkkiat wrote that his maternal grandfather, the late former prime minister MR Kukrit Pramoj, had told him: “You have to help with Granddad’s work at the bank.” Krirkkiat had earlier worked at the Bank of Thailand for over a decade. How the scandal unfolded Between 1993 and 1994, the bank spent over 36 billion baht on business takeovers and leveraged buyouts linked with Saxena. The BBC also granted loans with insufficient or overpriced collateral to companies controlled by Saxena, senior bank executives including Krirkkiat, and their associates – many of whom were politicians. The BBC scandal was linked to a clique of young politicians known as the “Group of 16”, many of whom went on to become political heavyweights. Regulators estimated the bank’s bad loans at over 50 billion baht or roughly 40 percent of its assets. Saxena claimed years later that in 1995, BBC officials concealed the number of non-performing loans by lending money to bank-owned shell companies so they could repay debts owed by other borrowers. After the scheme was uncovered, the central bank in February 1996 ordered Krirkkiat to not renew Saxena’s consulting contract. A bank’s collapse Just a month later, the Bank of Thailand took control of the BBC. During a censure debate in early May 1996, opposition MPs from the Democrat Party accused unnamed government politicians of colluding with Saxena and Krirkkiat to “embezzle at least 50 billion baht from the bank’s deposits”. The accusation, coupled with reports of the bank’s deteriorating condition, led to a run on BBC deposits of more than 30 billion baht. That prompted a takeover by the Finance Ministry, which allowed the bank to go bust in August 1998 after discovering an unmanageable level of insolvency. Krirkkiat, Saxena and several others faced 17 court cases on charges of embezzlement and fraud causing damage of over 50 billion baht. The disgraced BBC president was sentenced to 20 years in jail and fined 3.1 billion baht. Krirkkiat died in October 2012 while still serving his prison sentence. Fallout for the economy The BBC scandal led to the closure of a Thai bank that had been operating for over 50 years. Its collapse undermined confidence in the Thai financial system, leading to a domino effect that toppled 56 financial institutions and saw many Thai commercial banks taken over by foreign investors. In July 1997, the Thai government gave in to speculative pressure against the baht and devalued the currency. The move forced neighboring countries to follow suit with their currencies, triggering a financial crisis that swept across Asia. Long legal battle In June 1996, Saxena was in Canada when Thai authorities charged him and others in connection with the BBC scandal. He was arrested a month later but resisted extradition from Canada, claiming he would be killed if he was sent back to Thailand. The extradition battle began in June 1997. More than a decade later, in October 2009, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Saxena and he was turned over to Thai authorities. In Thailand, Saxena waged a three-decade legal battle that came to an end this month with a final Supreme Court ruling that sealed his fate. Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service